Tuesday, 23 January 2018

John F. Kennedy: A Life from Beginning to End by Hourly History – Book Review

John F. Kennedy; the charismatic President of the United States who was in office for barely two years, but is still well known even outside his own country, particularly for his speeches and the mysteries surrounding his assassination. This is a short biography of the former President from Hourly History.

The book starts off with describing Kennedy’s family background, who hails from a very wealthy Irish family with a Roman Catholic background. It is his father’s dream that one of his sons reach the highest office in the country and after the death of his eldest son, he pushes John to take up the ambition. The book then moves on to his campaigns, his time in Congress, his Presidency and his assassination.

By reading this, I didn’t have get any positive opinion on Kennedy, who is often tagged as an inspirational figure. Yes, his election meant US had transcended religious boundaries as he was the first President with a Roman Catholic background but at the same time, the book also established very clearly that he was merely living somebody else’s dream, that is, his father. There was some focus on Kennedy’s policies, especially his support for the Civil Rights Movement. There was also some focus on the Cold War as it was its peak during his tenure, with the ongoing Cuban Missile Crisis. However, when one mentions Cuban Missile Crisis, if there isn’t sufficient detail on the failure of the CIA led Bay of Pigs invasion, then the book is merely trying to glorify Kennedy’s tenure.

But for that, there was very little focus on his time in the US Navy, the famous debates between then Vice-President Nixon and Kennedy and of course, the famous speeches and quotes of Kennedy (written by Theodore Sorensen, but attributed to Kennedy, nonetheless). The focus seemed to be more on the scandals surrounding him than the more important matters in his life.

This was an Hourly History book which to keep it short, compromised on content and I was not satisfied. I would award the book a three on ten.

Rating – 3/10

Have a nice day,

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